Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he would announce, at the Cabinet meeting Sunday morning, his plans to submit his letter of resignation. He left open the actual time of his resignation until early this afternoon, when he announced that he would hand in the letter of resignation to President Shimon Peres Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m.Read the whole thing.
The Prime Minister said in July that he would resign "when a new [Kadima] party leader is chosen... in order to enable him/her to form a new government." Though the implication was that he would resign before or as the efforts to form a new government begin, no date was specified.
When Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was chosen last week to head the Kadima party and began efforts to form a new government, Olmert went one step further. He informed his fellow Cabinet ministers in Kadima that he will announce in the Cabinet meeting his decision to resign from the position of Prime Minister - but again, did not say when he would hand in the letter.
Around 2 p.m., Olmert finally agreed to pin himself down, and stated that at 7:30 p.m., he would arrive at the President's Residence and give the letter to President Shimon Peres. The resignation will take effect 48 hours later.
A classic case of 'I won't believe it until I see it.'
Updated: Now it's reported that it is official, but as we already knew--that doesn't mean that Olmert is actually out:
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni wasted no time Sunday working to put together a new government, meeting with potential coalition partners even as outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert formally resigned. Her ability to move fast in her first task could have far-reaching effects on Mideast peace talks.Has their ever been a greater incentive for Israeli politicians to get their act together?
Livni, who has gained respect for favoring peace deals with the Palestinians and Syria while distancing herself from the unpopular Olmert, would become Israel's second female prime minister after Golda Meir, who served from 1969-1974.
A former lawyer and one-time agent in the Mossad spy agency, Livni has 42 days to form a government.
Olmert remains in office until a new government is approved by the parliament, and he has pledged to press ahead with peace efforts as long as he is premier. That in itself might push reluctant Israeli politicians to deal quickly with Livni.